The Most Common Mistakes When Applying For Social Security Disability

The Social Security disability system is rule-driven and can be complicated if you don’t know all the rules.  Before you apply for Social Security disability, make sure you know the important guidelines so you won’t make the most common mistakes.

Common Mistake #1:  Applying for Social Security Disability While You Are Still Working Full-Time

Many workers make the mistake of applying for Social Security disability before they stop working.  While this is understandable since you don’t want to be without income for any period of time, Social Security denies these applications.  If you are earning more than $1,310.00 per month (which the Social Security Administration considers “substantial gainful activity“) or you are working full-time, you probably shouldn’t apply for benefits yet.  It will likely be best for you to wait until you aren’t working any more or, at least, until your impairments have caused a reduction in the number of hours you are able to work.

The Social Security Administration, however, considers some full-time work to be “subsidized,” which may make you eligible to apply for benefits.  Examples of subsidized work include:  some light-duty jobs or jobs where you work with a job coach.

Common Mistake #2:  Not Applying For Disability When You’re Working Part-Time

Not all work is created equal.  While you can’t get disability if your job is considered substantial gainful activity, not all work disqualifies you from disability benefits.  If you are working part-time and earning less than $1,310.00/month, you can apply for disability benefits.

A lawyer who is experienced in handling Social Security disability claims can help you determine if your work meets the definition of substantial gainful activity.

Common Mistake #3:  Applying for Social Security Disability When You Are Getting Unemployment

When you apply for Social Security disability, you are required to confirm that you have a medical condition that prevents you from working.  But, if you have applied for or are receiving unemployment benefits, you are saying that you can work but haven’t been able to find a job.  If you are eligible to receive income by saying you can work, you will likely be disqualified from receiving disability benefits. This hurdle is difficult to overcome.

Common Mistake #4:  Not Completing All Of The Required Forms

Completing a Social Security disability application is time consuming and requires persistence and patience.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the process.  If you don’t complete the required forms completely, accurately, and on time, you claim will probably be denied.

Common Mistake #5:  Overstating Your Job Duties Or Education

If you overstate either your education or your past job experiences on your disability application, you may be setting yourself up for disaster.  These types of overstatements can be translated into an ability to work, in which case your claim will be denied.

Common Mistake #6:  Basing Your Application On Only Your Most Serious Medical Condition

When evaluating your disability application, the Social Security Administration considers how all of your impairments combined affect your ability to work.  For instance, if you have chronic pain as well as depression and anxiety, you might experience problems with fatigue, concentration, and focus.  For this reason, it’s important for you to list all of your severe medical conditions on your application so that Social Security can decide how all of your impairments combined affect your ability to work.

Common Mistake #7:  Basing Your Application on Undiagnosed Medical Conditions

While it’s important to list all of your severe medical conditions on your disability application, Social Security will only consider conditions that have actually been diagnosed by a medical professional.  You need medically accepted evidence to support each medical condition.  For instance, you will need diagnostic testing, like blood work, x-rays, or a diagnosis from a licensed medical professional to prove that you have a severe impairment.

What Makes Ritchie Law Firm Different?

Many Virginia lawyers say they practice Social Security Disability law.  But, most of those lawyers have not had years of experience winning Social Security Disability cases.  That’s what makes us different.  At the Ritchie Law Firm, we have a team of lawyers who have the experience of handling Social Security Disability cases and WINNING.  Sure, we also handle personal injury cases.  But, Social Security Disability cases are a different beast.  And, we know how to handle them.

If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, our disability team will review your denial letter for FREE.  Then, with no obligation and NO STRINGS ATTACHED, we’ll tell you our game plan for winning your case.

If you want your disability case handled by a team of lawyers trained to handle this difficult area of the law that few lawyers know the first thing about, your search is over.  Whatever stage of applying for benefits you are in, whether you haven’t yet applied or you’ve been denied, we are happy to help.  Click here to give us some details about your case.

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